Savage Dragon: Did [SPOILER] Really Just Die?

The cover art for Savage Dragon #254, in stores today from writer/artist Erik Larsen and publisher Image Comics, promised a brutal throwdown with the Vicious Circle, and the issue itself delivered. By the end of the story, there were a handful of bloody, possibly-dead bodies strewn around the room, including those of some really major characters. Since it's Savage Dragon, that's not exactly unprecedented -- anything can happen, just ask Dragon himself, who exploded into a puff of blood and a comical sound effect back in Savage Dragon #225. The key difference here is that the issue ends on a dramatic moment in the battle, leaving the question of some characters' exact fates open to interpretation.

As always, Larsen joined ComicBook.com to discuss the issue for our regular "commentary track-style" interview, which will run later today. For now, what to make of that ending? Well, we asked.

Spoilers ahead for Savage Dragon #254, out today from Erik Larsen and Image Comics.

The last half of the comic is a battle between Malcolm Dragon and the Vicious Circle, during which Malcolm has the upper hand...right up until he doesn't. After using her Mako powers to beat Malcolm senseless, Dart presses her advantage with a series of explosive dart attacks.

Usually, that wouldn't be enough to be a serious threat to a character like Malcolm -- but one of them takes out a piece of his face, sending an eye flying out, which suggests that Malcolm's brain might be damaged. That's the only thing that ever really slowed down his father, putting him temporarily out of commission a number of times, and eventually bringing Emperor Krull, his pre-Dragon persona, back. As Krull, he killed a bunch of alternate-universe, clone, and other assorted wannabe-Dragons. How? Eating their brains.

There's also the variable of Paul Dragon -- the original, pre-Image version fo Savage Dragon. He reappeared in Savage Dragon #250, having appeared from an alternate universe before the "Merging of Multiple Earths" story destroyed the Dragon multiverse. That, some fans have argued, could make Malcolm more "replaceable."

On the other hand, Larsen has already solicited January's issue, featuring a cover that clearly has a fully-recovered Malcolm on it. So -- what gives?

"I can’t answer that but I will say that covers can be misleading and in some cases covers can/have/and will be changed to reflect the new reality," Larsen told ComicBook.com. "And I have no problem whatsoever with setting up readers’ expectations and pulling the rug out from under them. A Malcolm Dragon cover can be easily turned into a Paul Dragon cover and vice versa."

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So it will likely be a month before Savage Dragon #255 gives us an idea of where the story is heading...!

You can get Savage Dragon #254 today at your local comic shop, or digitally via ComiXology, Amazon, or other ebook retailers.